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I Got a Free Haircut Using My Camera


My name is Trey Cockrum, I am a wedding and portrait photographer based in Indiana. This is the story of how I recently traded my photography for a haircut.

I was out in Laguna Beach, California, for a conference I was shooting and attending, and I ended up seeing a barber shop just down the street from where the conference was being held.

At some point, the group of people I was with made a bet to see if I could get a free haircut from the barber using my photography services — no one in the group thought I could! They all claimed the owner of the shop was grumpy and would quickly decline my offer.

Challenge accepted.

So I decide to walk in, I am pretending like I’m knowing what I’m doing, and decide to go ahead and record the event for the sake of getting to share it with my YouTube audience. Watch the video, and you’ll see he and I actually became good buddies.

We got a selfie in the mirror together, and I hooked him up with some good shots of his store. (I accidentally ended up shooting all these photos in JPEG! They still turned out wonderful. Love the 6D’s dynamic range.)

Here’s my main takeaway from this experience: photographers don’t give themselves enough credit for their talent. We need to be willing to use our gifts and put them to great use! Even if this example is a little crude, getting a free haircut, there are unusual opportunities everywhere for us to use our love for photography and our talent.

Just after the video above was recorded, I actually saw a women’s boutique down the street and connected with its owner. They’ve got me on their list of photographers, and are willing to fly me out for a shoot if they ever need fresh photos. I absolutely love to see photographers take on this mindset, because as artists it can be hard to recognize these great opportunities.

Have confidence, stride on in like you know what you’re talking about, and own it. Make deals, trade services, serve others well, and make great friends! You have value in the gifts you’ve been given, you can use that.

P.S. I shot all the images on the 35mm Tamron f1.8 VC (a GREAT lens) and my Canon 6D. Edited in Lightroom using custom presets I’ve made.

About the author: Trey Cockrum is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Indiana. You can find more of his work on his website and on Instagram.